Sunday, February 21, 2010

WIP: Daemon Prince x 2, part 2

The two Minotaur-to-Daemon conversions are coming along nicely, as are their bases.

Initially, the DP with wings was the real focus of this project and where I directed my entire first burst of energy. And certainly, he is coming along reasonably well, although I think the axe has to be altered to help make him a little less obviously a Minotaur with wings.

As is the way with these things, the second DP, which I started only as a bit of a lark, has since come to dominate my attention.

This guy has a number of subtle but worthwhile conversions and details: I switched the banner pole from a left hand to his right (this was actually a total pain); I added the tail from left-over and chopped up mix of Tyranid bits; the banner with skulls is from an old Chaos Marauders WHFB box; while the tip of the (admittedly odd) weapon comes from the LOTR plastic Troll. Because I imagine that this guy is the type to keep trophies from his various... accomplishments, I also added both a pouch of bones and whatnot from the Ogre plastics and a skull on a chain to his belt. I don't remember where this last piece comes from but feel that it helps fill out his personality. Oh, at the last minute I also added a battle-damaged SM helmet to the turf (which will be painted in BA colors, naturally).

And as you can tell, I never, ever throw anything away. Never. Ever.

For the final bit of conversion, I opened the pose of his left arm and set it out away from his body, which required that I sculpt a new shoulder, but which also makes room for…

…the most menacing trophy of all –indeed, this character’s entire reason for being. You will no doubt recognize the centerpiece as the Blood Angels Chalice from the new Space Hulk game. I’ve stated this once before when talking about my Red Corsair Havocs and their stolen Templars’ banner, but I really enjoy intertwining the narratives of the 40K universe. With the looming release of a new Blood Angels Codex, this project was the ideal opportunity to throw down the metaphorical gauntlet toward all the BA personalities out there on the interwebs and beyond.

Note: I sincerely believe that these kinds of “persona” details and gestures are tremendously important with conversions of significant characters. They create the narrative that gives the figure a kind of intelligible personality, history, and character. As such, I strongly feel that these kinds of details are fundamentally relevant, and precisely the kind of gesture that sparks my interest in any figure (not simply my own).

The Chalice was reasonably difficult to set securely into his left hand. What’s more, I decided early on that I wanted to invoke the primary BA emblem by having a drop coming out of the chalice as it was tipped over (at that point I was thinking either into his gulping maw or into the dirt. Obviously, I chose dirt for pragmatic reasons). “The Drop,” for me, is the most important narrative and visual element of this model and I can say that it was a distinct challenge.

What you see pictured here is my third or fourth attempt. My initial efforts to make the drop both small and subtle failed because the connection was too weak and brittle. Instead, I was forced to place a small link of brass pin in the bottom of the chalice –which presented a whole new problem because the brass pin had to fit in perfect alignment with the pull of gravity. Sounds simple. Isn’t. Also, the pin makes the drop more meaty and thick –too thick to my liking. Sure, it’s sturdy enough now, but I’m hoping that the painting on this one will help make its bulk seem less clumsy and more in line with what I’d imagined, which was a subtle invocation of BA heraldry. Here’s to hoping.

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